Christopher columbus discovered puerto rico: Puerto Rico | Genocide Studies Program

Puerto Rico | Genocide Studies Program

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Colonial Genocides

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1509 to 1552

Puerto Rico is one of the world’s oldest colonies, having been under some form of military occupation or protectorate status since 1508. On November 19, 1493, during his second voyage, Christopher Columbus arrived in Puerto Rico. The indigenous Taíno culture dominated the island.[1] The Taíno called the island Borikén (Spanish Boriquen), “the land of the brave lord.” Columbus named the island San Juan Bautista in honor of Saint John the Baptist. Based on the archeological remains of Pre-Columbian people, the Puerto Rican archeologist, Don Ricardo Alegria, calculates that, at most, the island had some 30,000 inhabitants circa 1508.[2]

While governor of the Hispaniolan province of Higüey, Juan Ponce de León, a former lieutenant under Christopher Columbus, heard rumors regarding the wealth of gold on Boriquen; and on June 15, 1508, Nicolás de Ovando, the viceroy of Española (Hispaniola), granted Ponce de León the privilege to explore and subjugate the island of San Juan Bautista. On August 8, 1508, Ponce de León founded Caparra, the first European settlement in Puerto Rico, not far from the modern city of San Juan. The Taíno Cacique (Chief) Agüeybaná openly greeted Ponce de León. However, conflicts soon arose as the settlers began subjugating the Taíno. Within a year, Ponce de León had subdued a majority of the native population and gained control over most of the island. As a result of this success, Ponce de León was named Governor and Captain-General of Puerto Rico in 1509; Caparra was abandoned and the settlement relocated to a nearby coastal islet, named Puerto Rico (Rich Port). Sometime during the 1520s, the island took the name of Puerto Rico and the port (Puerto Rico) became San Juan. After a Taíno uprising in 1511, a second settlement, San Germán, was founded on the southwestern part of the island.

The encomienda system, a version of the European feudal trusteeship labor institution, reduced the Spanish-conquered American indigenous populations to a corvée (forced labor) class subject to the Conquistadors. In Puerto Rico, the Taíno primarily worked in the gold mines. As early as 1511, Fray Antonio de Montesinos argued from Catholic doctrine to advocate abolishing the forced servitude and inhumane treatment of the Taíno in Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. Although he and Bartolomé de Las Casas were eventually successful in influencing the Spanish crown, the high death rate among the Taíno due to enslavement and European diseases (smallpox, influenza, measles, and typhus) persisted.

Although remaining subject to the same obligations sustained by the other indigenous vassals, the Complementary Declaration of July 28th, 1513, established that those natives who were clothed, Christian, and capable could live their own lives.[3] A royal decree that collectively emancipated the remaining Taíno population is dated July 12th, 1520. One reason for this emancipation order was the large number of Taíno deaths attributed to the continuing bondage systems.[4] Ironically, by 1520 the Taíno presence had almost vanished. Governor Manuel de Lando’s census in 1530 reports the existence of only 1148 Taíno remaining in Puerto Rico. However, oppressive conditions for the surviving Taíno continued. Therefore, in 1544, Carlos I (Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain) decreed that the natives be as free as any Spaniard. In reality though, the declaration of equality did not end the colonial social class system.[5]

As part of the early colonization process, African slaves were introduced to the island in 1513 and institutional slavery would not be abolished until 1873. By 1540 the gold reserves on the island were nearly exhausted. However, the farms originally established to supply cattle, grain, fruits, and vegetables to the mining camps would capitalize on slave labor to sustain limited cash cultivation of cassava, corn, tobacco, plantains, rice, ginger, cocoa, cereals, vegetables, tropical fruits, and medicinal plants. Although already recognized as a valuable cash crop in the mid-16th century, the full potential of sugarcane cultivation, which demanded large investments in machinery and human and animal labor, was not realized until the 18th and 19th centuries. By 1898, when the U. S. annexed the colony, these early subsistence-farming activities had evolved into a considerable wealth-generating plantation system, cultivating sugarcane, tobacco, and coffee (see map). Surviving Taíno were few in number.

~Russell Schimmer, GSP, Yale University


[1] Rouse, Irving, The Tainos : Rise and Decline of the People Who Greeted Columbus. Yale University Press, New Haven, 1992.

[2] Alegría, Ricardo E., Historia y cultura de Puerto Rico : desde la época pre-colombina hasta nuestros días. Editores, Ricardo E. Alegría, Eladio Rivera Quiñones. Fundación Francisco Carvajal, San Juan, P.R., 1999.

[3] Figueroa, Doña Loida, History of Puerto Rico Tainos de Boriken: Translation of an extract from La Colonizacion De Puerto Rico. Sociedad Puertorriqueña de Genealogía.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

Christopher Columbus and The Discovery of Puerto Rico – StMU Research Scholars

In 1493, on his second voyage to the Americas, Christopher Columbus discovered Puerto Rico, an island that he named San Juan Bautista. On his first trip, Columbus, as we know, discovered La Española (Hispaniola), which is today the countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. In a failed attempt to reach La Española on his second trip, Columbus landed on Puerto Rico, where he was received by the Taíno Indians, who were of the same ethnic group as the people of La Española and the other islands in the Caribbean.1

Months after reaching the Island, the Spaniards started the process of colonizing the Taíno Indians, led by Juan Ponce De Leon, who was one of the conquistadors that came with Columbus. Later, in 1508, De Leon became the first governor of San Juan Bautista. During this process of colonization, the Taíno Indians did not show resistance because they believed the Spaniards were gods. The reason they saw the Spaniards as gods was because there had been a Taíno legend that spoke of a time when gods were going to rise from the water to give salvation to the Taíno. This legend facilitated the process of colonization for the Spaniards, since they did not encounter any native resistance. Within a short time they had created villages and colonies. By the beginning of the 1500’s, the Taíno natives were working in gold mines and plantations. In 1514, the Taíno decided to take matters into their own hands and rebel against their Spanish overlords. What resulted was one of the most brutal genocides in Latin American history. More than 25,000 Taíno Indians were murdered by the Spaniards on the Island of San Juan Bautista. This means that 85-90% of their population had been killed at the hands of the Spaniards. After the rebellion, the Spaniards noticed that the natives that had survived were not enough to fulfill their labor requirements. They decided to search for a new work force.2

After the massacre of 1514, the Spaniards noticed that they needed a new “work force,” as they called their slaves; so in 1518 they started importing African slaves from the Gulf of Guinea. The slaves started to reach the island later that year, and became the new “work force” of the Spaniards along with the small number of Taíno Indians that had survived the massacre. This caused more problems, since the Spaniards and the Africans brought a variety of diseases to the Island, such as small-pox and measles. Approximately two million Taíno Indians that lived on the islands of the Caribbean died from these diseases. By the late 1500’s there were no more Taíno Indians left on the island of San Juan Bautista; only the children of those who intermarried with the Spaniards and Africans survived. Of course, the Taíno, Africans, and Spaniards intermarried through time, and this is why Puerto Ricans today have such a diverse racial heritage; but the original Taíno racial group became extinct by around 1600. By that time the island of San Juan Bautista had become one of the most important colonies in the Caribbean. The Spaniards now had a way to export their products to the rest of the Caribbean and Latin America through this island, giving them an economical advantage. In less than thirty years the Spaniards took the Taíno land, men, women, and children, and virtually erased a whole population from the face of the earth. Most people consider Christopher Columbus as one of the greatest explorer to ever live, and as a hero of sorts, but have they taken into consideration the many civilizations in the Americas that have been affected by him? Not only the Taíno population, but also the Aztecs, the Incas, and many other societies throughout the Americas were affected significantly by this Columbian moment in history.3


  1. Roberto Marquez, “Sojourners, Settlers, castaways and creators: A recollection of Puerto Rico past and Puerto Rico present,” Massachusetts Review 36, no. 1 (1995): 94. ↵
  2. Robert M. Poole, “What Became Of The Taíno?” Smithsonian 42, no. 6 (October 2011): 58. ↵
  3. Byron Cannon, “West Indian Uprisings,” Salem Press Encyclopedia (January 2016): 583-586. ↵

founding of the Teutonic Order, discovery of Puerto Rico — Realnoe Vremya


00:00, 11/19/2021

What is remarkable about the date of November 19?

Today, November 19, in Russia they congratulate representatives of the missile forces and artillery, as well as honor workers in the glass industry, the world celebrates International Men’s Day. Over the years and centuries, the Teutonic Order was founded on this date, the island of Puerto Rico was opened, the first drama theater opened in Poland, and the Prado Museum in Madrid, the largest flood in the history of St. Petersburg occurred, Soviet troops launched a counteroffensive near Stalingrad. Born on this day were Russian naturalist, founder of Moscow State University Mikhail Lomonosov, Russian navigator, leader of the first Russian round-the-world trip Ivan Kruzenshtern, one of the founders of embryology and physiology Alexander Kovalevsky, Soviet politician Mikhail Kalinin, Air Chief Marshal, twice Hero of the Soviet Union Alexander Novikov , Indian politician Indira Gandhi. The French composer Franz Schubert, the German and British engineer, inventor Carl Siemens, the Polish-American biochemist who introduced the concept of «vitamin», Kazimir Funk, the Soviet film director Leonid Gaidai, and the science fiction writer Boris Strugatsky died. Read more about the most significant events of the date in the review of Realnoe Vremya.

Order of the head of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Tatarstan, income law

On November 19, 2015, the State Council of Tatarstan adopted a bill that prohibits amendments to income acts before the budget is adopted. Parliamentarians came to such a decision in order to avoid confusion in the budgetary processes. Thus, the adopted draft law prohibits the submission of normative legal acts on taxes and fees, as well as normative legal acts that regulate budgetary legal relations that change budget revenues, to the constitutional body before the introduction of the budget bill for the next year to the republican parliament.

In 2018, the results of self-taxation referenda were announced in Tatarstan. Thus, the final turnout was 68.87%. More than 565 thousand people cast their vote. Referendums were declared valid in 838 settlements (with a turnout of over 50%), invalid in six settlements (a year earlier, local referendums were not held in 14 settlements). By-elections of deputies of representative bodies of municipalities were held in 12 single-mandate constituencies. 2.2 thousand people took part in the voting, and the final turnout was 61.74%. The elections were recognized as valid: the United Russia party received 10 mandates, self-nominated candidates — two mandates.


In 2019, the head of the Constitutional Court of Tatarstan, Farhat Khusnutdinov, was awarded the medal of the Order of Merit for the Republic of Tatarstan. He was awarded by the President of the Republic Rustam Minnikhanov. The award was given for high achievements in professional activity and many years of fruitful work. Farhat Khusnutdinov has been the Chairman of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Tajikistan since 2014. He is also an Honored Lawyer of the Republic, a judge of the first qualification class and a lawyer of the year — 2018 in the nomination «Protection of the rights and freedoms of man and citizen.» Khusnutdinov has many other state awards.

And last year, cosmonaut from Tatarstan Sergei Ryzhikov made his first spacewalk. Together with Russian cosmonaut Sergei Kud-Sverchkov, he spent six hours there. The main task was to replace the panel of the thermal control system of the oldest module of the ISS — the Zarya functional cargo block. However, it was not possible to open the hatch of the sealed container. The Tatarstan citizen had a special task — to inspect the place outside the station where a crack was found in the Zvezda and film it, but he did not notice anything. Sergei Ryzhikov was born at 1974 in Bugulma. He is the 121st cosmonaut of Russia (USSR), Hero of the Russian Federation (2018) and Honorary Citizen of the Bugulma region of Tatarstan.

The largest flood in St. Petersburg and the drama «Boris Godunov»

In 1824, the largest flood in history occurred in St. Petersburg. The city itself is famous for such phenomena; many memorial plaques have been erected in memory of them. For example, in its entire history, St. Petersburg has been flooded more than 330 times. However, the biggest one happened on 19November 1824. The water level in the Neva rose 421 cm above the ordinary. For comparison: a flood with a water rise of more than 300 cm is considered catastrophic. As a result of flooding and strong winds, the walls of houses collapsed, the roofs of buildings were torn off, and some trees were uprooted. In the future, this incident was reflected in the famous poem by Alexander Pushkin «The Bronze Horseman».


In 1825 the poet completed his historical drama Boris Godunov. The work is dedicated to the era of Godunov’s reign in the period from 1598 to 1605 and the appearance of False Dmitry I. Pushkin wrote the drama under the influence of reading the History of the Russian State. It was published in full in 1830, and was put on stage only in 1866. Up to this point, the production of the drama was banned. With censorship adjustments, Boris Godunov was staged in 1870 on the stage of the Mariinsky Theater by the artists of the Alexandrinsky Theater. By the way, the work became a transitional link in Pushkin’s work from romanticism to realism. Moreover, it saw its embodiment not only on the stage, but also in multiple film adaptations, the first of which dates back to 1907 year.

In 1919 the House of Arts was created in Petrograd. The initiator was the Russian writer, poet and prose writer Maxim Gorky. It was governed by the Supreme Council, which included Anna Akhmatova, Akim Volynsky, Yevgeny Zamyatin and other famous writers. The main task of the house was the organization of theme evenings, concerts, exhibitions and the publication of books. The institution existed until 1923. Despite its short history, the House of Arts was reflected in the novel Crazy Ship by Olga Forsh, in the memoirs of Korney Chukovsky, Vsevolod Rozhdestvensky, Mikhail Slonimsky and other authors. Chukovsky himself called the house a place where everyone gossips, hates each other, intrigues and messes around.

And in 1933 the New Theater was founded in Leningrad. It was created by a group of artists, consisting of Ksenia Kurakina, Roman Rubinstein, Mikhail Rozanov, Alexander Zhukov and others. The association was headed by director Isaac Kroll. The theater was founded in the house of the former Dutch Church on Nevsky Prospekt. At the opening, a performance based on the play by Alexander Ostrovsky «Mad Money» was held. Three years later, a fire broke out in the theater, and he moved to the Pavlova theater building on Troitskaya Street. In 1937, Kroll was fired, he was replaced by an outstanding actor and director Boris Sushkevich, he instilled the MAT traditions in the troupe. He also brought to the theater a new generation of artists, graduates of the Leningrad Theater Institute. At 19In 1953, the institution was renamed the Lensoviet Leningrad Theater, today it is the Lensoviet St. Petersburg Academic Theatre. The theater is located on Vladimirsky Prospekt. The artistic director is theater and film actress Larisa Luppian. The repertoire includes many productions, for example, «Three Sisters», «Hamlet» and «Uncle Vanya».

Building of the German Order in Wolframs-Eschenbach. Photo:

Founding of the Teutonic Order and discovery of the island of Puerto Rico

In 1190 the Teutonic Order was founded. This is a German spiritual and knightly military order. His motto is «Help — Protect — Heal». Its story begins in Palestine during the Third Crusade. Then the German pilgrims established a hospital near the Syrian fortress of Acre for the sick and wounded countrymen. There is also a version that it was founded by German merchants: they created a brotherhood whose goal was to help poor and sick compatriots. And in February 1191, Pope Clement III established the «German Brotherhood of St. Mary in Jerusalem», which in 119In the year 8, for the successes of the German crusaders, it was transformed from a hospital into a spiritual and knightly order, headed by chaplain Konrad. After a rich history, the order met its decline in 1809, but it was restored in 1834 in Austria. It still exists in Germany as a small church organization.

In 1493, the Spanish navigator Christopher Columbus discovered the island of Puerto Rico (located in the Caribbean Sea) during his second voyage to the New World. At that moment, the island was inhabited by Indians, they called themselves Taino. The traveler himself named it San Juan de Bautista. The Spanish began to colonize the island only in 1508. So, the Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de Leon arrived from the island of Haiti, founded the city of Caparra and became the first governor of the island. Later, the city was moved to a small island off the coast, which was called Puerto Rico (Spanish for «rich port»). Today, English and Spanish are spoken in the state, and 3.1 million people live in it.

In 1969, the Apollo 12 manned spacecraft made the second ever landing on the Moon. The crew included American astronauts Charles Conrad, Richard Gordon and Alan Bean. The task of the flight was to collect samples of lunar soil, photograph on the surface of the Moon, install scientific instruments, and more. The astronauts spent more than 31 hours on the celestial body. The return to Earth was successful. By the way, the first landing of people on the moon took place shortly before that — in July of the same year. So, the crew commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin landed the ship’s lunar module in the southwestern region of the Sea of ​​Tranquility. But the third landing took place only two years later — February 5, 1971 years old. As in previous times, the Americans again left their traces on the Earth’s satellite.

Photo: NASA

In 1978 there was a mass suicide of members of the Temple of the Peoples sect. 918 people died. The religious movement was founded in 1955 by Jim Johnson. To members of the sect, he distributed a message that combined elements of Christianity with communist and socialist ideas, as well as an emphasis on racial equality. Shortly before the suicide, US Congressman Leo Ryan arrived in Jonestown, Guyana, where the commune resided, to investigate allegations of abuse at the Peoples Temple. He was accompanied by diplomats and journalists. Later, unknown persons opened fire on the group, Leo Ryan was also killed. There is a version that the execution was organized by Johnson himself. That same evening, the sect leader ordered the congregation to drink a grape-flavored drink mixed with cyanide. Some parents have killed their children before. A total of 276 children died.

Diana Zhilenkova

SocietyHistory Tatarstan

Day in history: November 19 — Discovery of Puerto Rico and birth of Skoda

Puerto Rico

Day in history: November 19 — Discovery of Puerto Rico and birth of Skoda On his second voyage to the New World, Columbus discovered the island of Puerto Rico.

The history of Puerto Rico in the period preceding the arrival of Christopher Columbus on this earth has not been fully studied. All that is known about him comes from archeological excavations and oral histories from early Spanish travelers. The first book to comprehensively describe the history of Puerto Rico was written by Fray Iñigo Lasierra in 1786, 29 years later.3 years after the first visit to this island by the Spaniards.

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The first settlers of Puerto Rico were orthoroids — representatives of an ancient culture. Excavations carried out in 1990 found the remains of a primitive man, whose age dates back to approximately 2000 BC (4000 years ago). The remains were named “Puerto Ferro man“. Between 120 and 400 AD, representatives of the Igneri Indian tribe from the Orinoco River region in South America arrived on the island. Between the 7th and 11th centuries, the island began to be inhabited by representatives of the Arawakan tribes, who founded the Taino culture, and by about 1000 AD, this culture began to dominate the island, until the arrival of Columbus in 1493 years old

When Christopher Columbus landed on the island on November 19, 1493 during his second voyage to the shores of America, the island was inhabited by Indians who called themselves the Taino. The Tainos called the island Boriquen, which was later interpreted by the Spaniards as «Borinquen». Columbus named the island San Juan de Bautista after Saint John the Baptist. The colonization of the island by the Spaniards began in 1508, when Juan Ponce de Leon arrived from Santo Domingo (the island of Haiti) with a detachment of conquistadors, who founded the city of Caparra and became the first governor of the island. Caparra, the administrative center of the island, was moved in 1521 to a new, more convenient place — a small island off the coast, receiving a new name — Puerto Rico («rich port», translated from Spanish).

Emil Skoda’s birthday

Day in history: November 19 — Discovery of Puerto Rico and the birth of Skoda /

In 1839 Emil Skoda was born, a Czech engineer, entrepreneur, founder of the Škoda engineering plant. He was born in Pilsen in the family of the doctor Frantisek Skoda. Emil’s father was a health adviser, had a title of nobility, which was awarded to him by Emperor Franz Joseph I.

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After graduating from high school in Cheb, Emil continued his studies first at the Czech Technical University in Prague, then at the Technical University of Karlsruhe, Germany. Pupil of Ferdinand Redtenbacher. After completing his studies, already engineer Emil Skoda went to practice in countries such as France, England and the United States of America. He spent a long time in Prussia, one of the most technically advanced countries of that time. But with the outbreak of the Austro-Prussian War in 1866, Emil returned to his hometown of Pilsen, where he became the chief engineer of a small Wallenstein-Wartenberg machinery factory.

In 1869 he bought the factory, moved it from the city center to the outskirts and began to expand.

In 1876, the first foreign representative office was opened in Kyiv, later representative offices were established in other countries. In the 1880s, the factory was a modern foundry and metalworking facility capable of producing castings weighing tens of tons. Under the leadership of Emil Skoda, the company began manufacturing equipment for sugar and breweries, mines. In 1886 Skoda built a railway, and in 1890, a new weapons factory was built for the Austro-Hungarian army. In 1896, a new arms factory hall was built, which allowed the company to become one of the largest European arms manufacturers.

Emil Skoda also took part in the creation of the Gambrinus brewery.

James Sumner’s birthday

Day in history: November 19 — Discovery of Puerto Rico and the birth of Skoda /

In 1887, James Batcheller Sumner, an American biochemist, was born. He graduated from Harvard University. Ph.D. At 1914-1929 taught biochemistry at Cornell University; since 1929, director of the laboratory of enzyme chemistry in the same place.

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Works on the preparative chemistry of proteins and enzymes, isolated a crystalline enzyme (urease) for the first time, proving the protein nature of enzymes.

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